NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s been four months since New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott was killed during a traffic stop in February near Deming. His widow has just filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming her husband died because of the department’s negligence.
Gabriella Jarrott filed the lawsuit against the state’s Department of Public Safety on behalf of her children and as the representative of Jarrott’s estate. The death of 28-year-old Ofc. Jarrot continues to be a story about a young father and husband gone far too soon.
Officer Jarrott was killed on February 4 on Interstate 10 near Deming, by Omar Felix Cueva during a traffic stop. “They didn’t even give Officer Jarrot a fighting chance,” said the attorney for the Jarrott family Sam Bregman.
According to the lawsuit, Cueva was an extremely dangerous drug trafficker, which was known by Jarrott’s supervisors. The lawsuit said Homeland Security had been in contact with Cueva through a confidential informant, but instead of making an undercover arrest, they asked State Police to make the arrest during a traffic stop instead.
The lawsuit claims Jarrott’s supervisors didn’t inform him of Cueva’s criminal background and directed Jarrott to do the traffic stop without any backup or protective gear. When Jarrott stopped Cueva and asked him to get out, Cueva stepped out of the truck with a rifle and shot him multiple times, killing him.
The family’s attorney has told KRQE News 13 this tragedy could have been avoided. “Where was the backup,” asked Bregman. “This was a guy that they know had weapons on him, know he’s a criminal, violent person doing drug deals with drugs on him. Where is the backup?”
The lawsuit also claims the state favored the safety of a confidential informant over Jarrott’s life. It also mentioned Jarrott didn’t have the full training State Police officers usually get because he originally started his career in law enforcement as a Department of Public Safety employee. His department merged with State Police in 2015, making him a State Police officer. Cueva led officers on a 40-mile chase that day from Deming to Las Cruces where he was eventually killed in a shootout.
The lawsuit didn’t specify what exactly the family wants in return but did state “costs of this action and any other relief the Court deems just and proper”. State Police and the DPS said they will not be commenting on this lawsuit at this time.